A man shooting up heroin behind the wheel smashed his vehicle into a utility pole and subsequently suffered an overdose in Maine Saturday morning.
Officers with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office responding to the accident, which took place in Augusta, found 31-year-old Jess Legendre sitting in a Chevrolet Impala in a ditch after having run through the utility pole. While officers said he did not initially seem intoxicated, he quickly became unresponsive while searching for documents in the car, reports Central Maine.
Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Boudreau retrieved a dose of the overdose reversal drug Narcan from his car, which a medical technician later used to revive Legendre. While treating Legendre first responders found a brown substance in his mouth that they suspect to be heroin.
“The male’s hands were blue, with a white substance in his right hand,” Boudreau said in an affidavit, according to Central Maine. “The male did not listen to commands but was speaking. His facial reaction was similar to someone who had just work up from a nap.”
During a search of Legendre’s vehicle, police found 48 grams of heroin separated into two bags and more than $700 in cash.
An ambulance took Legendre to MaineGeneral Medical Center where medical personnel had to administer a second dose of the overdose reversal drug Narcan. He was later released to Kennebec County jail, where he faces charges of operating after habitual offender revocation and falsifying physical evidence.
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database reveals the opioid epidemic increasingly threatens the lives of everyone on American roadways. An analysis by Alcohol.org, a website for information on alcohol abuse, found that traffic accidents linked to fentanyl are experiencing a particularly sharp increase, up 304 percent since 2007, according to their report.
While fentanyl accidents had the largest spike, the analysis also found steep rises in accidents linked to a range of other substances over the past decade. Traffic fatalities linked to the painkiller oxycodone rose by 134 percent over the same period.
The study results reflect previous research showing a surge in deaths linked to prescription painkillers as a result of the worsening opioid epidemic. A study released July 27, 2017 found the opioid scourge is making roadways across the U.S. more dangerous, accounting for a 700 percent increase in traffic deaths.
Researchers from Columbia University in New York City investigated more than two decades of data from the FARS database, with a specific focus on prescription opioids.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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